Toreadors trip MHS in opener

There’s lessons to be learned, yards to be swam and techniques to be improved, but after one meet the Bobcats’ effort is right where coach Mike Loupee wants it.

Featuring just three seniors and seven upperclassmen in its lineup, the Marshalltown boys’ swim team still has plenty of room for improvement, though Tuesday’s effort marked a solid first step in the 2013-14 campaign.

Visiting Boone claimed nine of the 12 events to hold off the Bobcats 89-75, though Marshalltown made up for anything lacking on the scoreboard with a consistently strong effort in the pool.

“These kids are competitive – they came to race and they did a very good job competing,” said Loupee. “We won the close races and they showed some moxie. Competitive and moxie we can work with.”

The Bobcats returning state qualifiers – senior Sam Carter and junior Blair Van Staalduine – each claimed a solo victory before teaming with sophomores Jack Greene and Daniel Lothe to win the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1 minute, 36 seconds.

Van Staalduine shaved two seconds off his season debut from a year ago with a clocking of 22.87 to edge Boone’s Mason Hartwig by four-hundredths in the 50 freestyle.

“Breaking the 23-second barrier in the 50 is always a big deal and doing it in the first meet is excellent,” said Loupee. “Blair is starting the season in much better shape.”

Carter captured the 500 freestyle in 5:16.67 – nearly 33 seconds ahead of the field, while Cole Podhajsky (5:49.15) and Lothe (5:49.76) took second and third.

“You can throw Sam in almost anything,” said Loupee. “He’s gotten much stronger with his weight lifting and once we start throwing more yards at him, he’ll continue to improve.”

Hunter Barnard added runner-up tallies in the 200 freestyle (2:07.01) and 100 butterfly (1:05.90), while Carter and Van Staalduine followed suit in the 200 individual medley (2:12.09) and 100 freestyle (53.32) respectively.

Devin Carlon, Colton Hanke, Barnard and Konnor Kacmarynski took second in the 200 freestyle in 1:43.00. Van Staalduine, Barnard, Carter and Lothe capped the meet by swiping silver in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:40.49 as Marshalltown posted 33 lifetime-best swims and 43 season-best performances.

“It’s a great place and good numbers for us to start with,” said Loupee. “Other than some learning that we have to do, we’re very pleased with the effort.”

The Bobcats’ JV cruised to a 86-29 victory. Marshalltown will take on the Toreadors again in the Boone Invite Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

The relays-specialty meet will allow Loupee to tinker with the lineup a bit as his young squad looks to take another step forward.

“We’ll certainly mix things up a little bit and try to go after a couple events that we can possibly win,” said Loupee. “We’ll try to shore up a couple of relays and see what we’ve got. As long as the guys continue to improve, we’re going to have a good squad by the end of the season.”